Chicago’s David Malukas is putting in the work and delivering the kind of results that warrant a step up from Indy Lights to the NTT IndyCar Series in 2022. As a winner of three poles and four races so far this season, the 19-year-old is earning interest from a few IndyCar teams due to his championship-caliber output.
Having led the standings more than once across the opening 12 rounds, the teenager’s rise from placing sixth as an Indy Lights rookie in 2019 at the age of 17 to being locked in a battle for the title with Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood and HMD/GRG teammate Linus Lundqvist is one of the bigger leaps seen in the series for quite some time.
“Going back to my first year in Indy Lights, there were no expectations, learn as much as we can — and it was a rough year but it was a new team, fresh start for everybody,” Malukas told RACER. “In the second year, there were big changes with the team, we went to FR (Formula Regional Americas when the 2020 Lights season was cancelled), and it was a big step up in maturity racing against drivers who were older and had more experience. I still felt like an underdog, but we finished second. So now, going against Linus and Kyle, it’s been the hardest I’ve had for competition, but the team has done a great job this year.”
Malukas mentioned the first contacts from IndyCar teams began following his runner-up finish and victory to close the Indy Lights doubleheader in May at the Indianapolis Grand Prix road course weekend. The discussions have been ongoing about moving upward next season. Ed Carpenter Racing is among the number of teams that have been rumored to hold an interest in signing the young American.
“We started receiving invites after Indy from IndyCar teams to sit with them in the pits, listen in on the radio, and we’ve seen that IndyCar teams are watching,” said Malukas, who turns 20 in September. “We’ve been talking with teams, and there are some good offers. Once things come together, I think it all could work out very well for us. It’s all still early, but we’re aiming towards doing a full-time deal.”
Malukas and the rest of his Indy Lights rivals on the Road to Indy get back to business on August 21 at the World Wide Technology Raceway oval in his home state of Illinois.